It’s taco night every night up in this house.
Whenever we have leftover roasted pork or packages of ground beef or turkey tucked away in the freezer, my go-to is TACOS!
And sometimes simple street tacos are what hit the spot.
No need for fancy schmancy toppings.
The savory carnitas take center stage, simply highlighted with salsa verde, white onion, fresh cilantro, and a pop of lime.
The key to perfect tacos at home is lightly pan-frying the tortillas.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, under any circumstances, serve the tortillas raw. Blech!
You’ll end up with chalky bland tortillas that crack and break into pieces as you try to eat.
Instead, take a few minutes to warm the tortillas in a pan with a little oil. They’ll get slightly crisp, and take on a beautiful golden color. Instead of tearing, they’ll remain nice and tender and perfect for stuffing with carnitas.
You can totally customize this recipe to serve even more people.
Just estimate roughly 1 hour of slow-cooking in the oven per pound of meat.
These tacos are the perfect Sunday football party fare!
- 4 pounds bone-in skin-on pork shoulder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other high heat oil, divided, plus additional for cooking the tortillas
- 1 package of organic corn tortillas (30 count)
- Favorite verde salsa - homemade or store bought
- 1 white onion, minced
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
- 6 limes, quartered
Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper on all sides, including the skin side.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
When the oven is preheated, place a heavy bottomed lidded pot (I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven) on the stove top. Add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder, fat side down, and cook on that side until nicely golden brown. Rotate the pork to the next side, and continue, until all the sides and end pieces are nicely browned.
When the pork is browned all over, rotate the pork so the skin side is facing up, and place the lid on the pot. Put the dutch oven inside the oven, and let cook without moving for about 4 hours, until the outside of the pork is deeply browned, and the meat is fall apart tender. If the skin is not yet dark brown and crispy, increase the heat to 500 degrees and let cook with the lid off the pan, until it is crispy.
Remove from the oven, and let the pork rest for 30 minutes. Remove the crispy skin and set aside. Then, use two large forks or your fingers to pull the pork apart into pieces and then shred into bite-sized pieces. Chop the crispy skin into small pieces and toss into the shredded meat as well.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to a large skillet and warm over high heat. Add the shredded pork & let it cook for a few minutes without stirring until some of the pieces get nice and crispy. Remove from the skillet into a serving bowl.
Next, in a small skillet, pour enough grapeseed oil to form a thin layer in the pan. Warm over high heat. Using tongs, add one corn tortilla to the pan. Let it cook briefly on one side until the tortilla starts to puff up. Flip over and cook briefly on the other side until lightly golden but still pliable. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and continue with the desired number of tortillas (16 or 20 should be perfect). Continue to add oil as needed to keep a light coating in the pan.
When the tortillas are done, you're ready to assemble the tacos! Place some of the pork carnitas in the center of a tortilla, spoon some salsa verde over the top, and sprinkle with minced onion and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime over the top and serve right away.
One of my favorite traditions growing up was choosing dinner on your birthday 🙂
We started this tradition at a really young age, as far back as I can remember in elementary school.
When you knew your birthday was coming up, you got to pick what your parents made for dinner that night!
As a kid, I had two favorite meals:
- Pepperoni pizza from the local pizza joint, Mission Pizza
- Homemade lemon chicken & fried rice
Like, I could eat those 2 meals all day every day and be 100% happy.
So, every year, on my birthday in February, I would special request lemon chicken & fried rice, with my favorite strawberry shortcake for dessert 😉
(I know, I was clearly skilled at menu pairing from a young age…)
Over the years, I’ve tweaked the classic fried rice recipe a bit.
I doubled the amount of egg and green onion (because let’s be honest, that’s the best part), and added a cup of frozen mixed veggies to give it a little pop of freshness.
This has become my favorite way to use up leftover white rice from Chinese, Thai, or Indian food takeout.
It’s soooooo easy!
Since the rice is already cooked, the recipe comes together in just minutes.
(If you don’t have any leftover rice, you can also just cook some earlier in the day & let it cool uncovered in the fridge until dinner. The goal is to have it be slightly dried out before stir frying.)
Simply scramble some eggs in peanut oil (cooking them extra long so they get nice and golden and crispy), then stir fry the rice and green onion together. Stir in some frozen veggies, chicken broth, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil, and you’re done!
- 4 tablespoons unrefined peanut oil, divided
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 5 1/2 cups cooked, cold, preferably day old, medium grain white or brown rice
- 2 cups chopped green onion
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a small bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and beat with a fork or whisk until well mixed.
Pour the egg into the warm wok or skillet and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula, for 5 or 6 minutes, until the egg is broken up into small pieces and is crispy and golden. Remove the egg from the pan and set aside for later.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the wok or skillet and keep the heat on high. Add the rice and green onion and stir fry for about 10 minutes until the green onion is cooked.
Next add the peas and carrots, chicken broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and soy sauce and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until hot and well mixed. Add the cooked egg, ground black pepper, and sesame oil, stir to mix well, and remove from heat. Enjoy while hot. (Although it makes great leftovers too!)
Lettuce wraps make perfect summer night dinners.
First of all, they’re easy…
Like, wash off some lettuce, quickly cook up some meat, toss in some herbs, and whisk together a basic sauce and you’re done.
Plus, you can do so many different flavor twists.
Mexican, Thai, Indian, etc… they would all be delicious.
This week, I decided to go Thai.
These wraps are bright, fresh, and packed with flavor.
Simply saute some pork and garlic until golden brown, then turn off the heat and toss in some fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and fresh peppers.
Stuff the pork mixture into crisp butter lettuce leaves, and spoon a simple sauce over top, made with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and more chiles.
The results are little pockets of deliciousness, packed with tender meat, fresh herbs, spicy chiles, vibrant fresh lime juice, and salty fish sauce.
I really like serving them with a giant bowl of fried rice on the side. Recipe coming soon!
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 red serrano or jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Carefully remove the butter lettuce leaves from the head of lettuce, wash with cool water, and set out to dry on a towel.
Next, assemble the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 of the sliced peppers. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned (about 10 minutes or so). Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until softened and fragrant.Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the onion, basil, cilantro, mint, and remaining pepper slices.
Serve family style, with the pork mixture, lettuce leaves, and dipping sauce. To assemble, spoon the pork into a lettuce leaf and either dip the wraps into the sauce or spoon over the top before eating.